Brothers Reconnect With Help From Staff | Easterseals Arc of Northeast Indiana
Tim, left, talks with his brother, Paul, after they hadn’t seen each other for more than three years.
Tim, left, embraces his brother, Paul, whom he had not seen since before the COVID-19 pandemic. Their reunion was made possible by Easterseals Arc staff member Ryan Keefe.
Tim, left, and Ryan Keefe discuss the reunion Tim had with Tim’s older brother, Paul, who now lives in a Columbia City nursing home.

Tim hadn’t seen his brother in at least three years, not since before the pandemic. With the help of Ryan Keefe, who works in Easterseals Arc’s community living department, they were reunited for a visit.

“His eyes lit up when he saw me,” Tim remembers. “We talked and caught up with each other.”

As adults, Tim and his brother, Paul, had been longtime roommates when they lived together in a group home as adults. Tim recalls that his brother had to go to a nursing home in Columbia City, the city where both of them used to live, after he broke his leg. Paul still has some difficulty getting around and communicating. Staying in touch became harder. Tim has lived in Fort Wayne for several years, but he doesn’t drive and can’t get to Whitley County on his own.

The COVID-19 pandemic, which did so much to keep people apart, created an additional complication with visitors to nursing homes being tightly restricted.

In 2023, Tim told Keefe that it had been a long, long time since he’d seen his brother and that he’d like to see him.

As a supervisor in community living, much of Keefe’s work is helping individuals have experiences that make life richer, more entertaining – in short, more memorable and fun.

Keefe got to work on tracking down Paul. Keefe knew that Paul had gone to a nursing home in Columbia City. That nursing home had changed hands – and names – since Tim had last been in touch with his brother. But it didn’t take Keefe long to find out that Paul’s home was The Waters.

He took Tim to see his brother shortly before Labor Day. The visit went well for both brothers.